Shortly after 4 a.m. on Oct. 17, 1998, James Patrick McFadden, the founder and the editor of the pro-life publication Human Life Review, fell to the floor of his New York home and died, due to an oesophageal hemorrhage.

McFadden’s resume is impressive. From 1971 to 1983, he was associate publisher of the prestigious conservative magazine National Review, where he began with a probationary job as an assistant in the circulation department.


In 1973, he became chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee in Defense of Life, and in 1977, was appointed chairman of the National Committee of Catholic Laymen. He was in charge of writing its newsletter, Catholic Eye.

In 1973, he founded the Human Life Foundation, which gives grants to crisis pregnancy centres, and in 1974 he founded Human Life Review, a highly regarded scholarly pro-life journal.

But more impressive than the “credentials” McFadden accumulated over the years is the life he lived. His daughter Maria McFadden Maffucci told The Interim that to some people, he might have been considered as a text-book candidate for euthanasia.

He had been fighting cancer for five years. He had a tracheotomy and breathed through his neck. He couldn’t swallow solid food and was fed through a tube into his stomach. He also had a colostomy bag. Two years ago, he lost the ability to speak. But no one could question his “quality of life.”

Maffucci, currently the executive editor of Human Life Review, remembers her father’s devout piety and Roman Catholicism, as well as his attendance at daily Mass. In the past few years, unable to receive Holy Communion under the species of bread, he received a few drops of wine from the chalice.

Maffucci said her father’s fervent faith led him to dedicate his life to the pro-life cause. He worked seven days a week, and even worked while undergoing radiation treatment. McFadden even went to work the day before he died.


Human Life Review managing editor Anne Conlon told The Interim, “He was such an inspiration to those who worked with him, there is no doubt his work will go on.”

He was married to Faith Abbott and had five children, the late Robert McFadden II, Maria McFadden Maffucci, Patrick McFadden, Regina McFadden, and Christina McFadden.

J.P. McFadden was 68 years old. Requiescat in pace.